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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memory of Mary Salome, the mother of James and John, who followed the Lord to the cross and placed him in the tomb. Memory of Blessed John Paul II

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

John 21, 15-19

When they had eaten, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my lambs.'

A second time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' He replied, 'Yes, Lord, you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Look after my sheep.'

Then he said to him a third time, 'Simon son of John, do you love me?' Peter was hurt that he asked him a third time, 'Do you love me?' and said, 'Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.

In all truth I tell you, when you were young you put on your own belt and walked where you liked; but when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and somebody else will put a belt round you and take you where you would rather not go.'

In these words he indicated the kind of death by which Peter would give glory to God. After this he said, 'Follow me.'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In this day, marking the beginning of the pontificate of blessed John Paul II, the Church celebrates his memorial as a believer and a pastor in difficult times. From a young age he saw the pain and poverty of many and answered the call of the Lord, giving his life for the Church and the world. He was a shepherd who lived intensely his relationship with God, and made of meeting everyone. His testimony makes us understand even more the invitation Jesus gave to Peter to follow him. The Gospel brings us back to the days after the resurrection. Jesus returns once again to the shores of Lake Tiberias, where he had met Peter three years previously, before calling him to mission. On that same shore, like a new beginning, Jesus questions Peter on the most important thing: love. Jesus knows that the only thing that will keep Peter forever tied to him is not a sense of duty or will power, but only the desire to reciprocate with his affection the boundless love he received. This is why Jesus asks him three times, as if to underline the essential question that we are faced with and are to ask ourselves every day. It is the question that sums up every word spoken by God: “Do you love me?” Peter's response is at first proud and sorrowful because he thinks that the Lord does not trust him. But the insistence of the Master overcomes his resistance and exposes his weakness, making him feel a strong need to rely on Jesus once more, to learn how to love with all his heart, all his mind and all his strength. The words Jesus speaks to Peter give a glimpse on the future of the apostle. Peter will finally find his stability far from the self-sufficiency he imagined. He will rely totally on the Lord's guidance that will allow him to reach where he never imagined. Thus is accomplished the prophecy of a fisherman who will manage to attract crowds of people to the Lord with the nets of the Gospel. The long pontificate of John Paul II, with the numerous crowds that he gathered and brought closer to the Lord, is the image of this total obedience to the Lord. This is the itinerary that every disciple is called to follow. We do not know where we will arrive, nor what the steps are in this sequence, but the certainty of the master's faithful love makes us capable of responding, from now and forever, to the invitation: “Follow me.”

Memory of the Poor